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Obama, congressional leaders condemn North Korean strike against South Korea

President Obama will call South Korea's president later Tuesday to express America's solidarity.

November 23, 2010|By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — President Obama will call South Korea's president later Tuesday to express America's solidarity after a military strike from North Korea, the White House said.

Briefing reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Indiana, deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Obama learned of the strike at 3:55 a.m., in a phone call from incoming National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.

He called North Korea's action part of a "pattern of doing things that are provocative."

"The president is outraged by this action. We stand shoulder to shoulder with South Korea," Burton said.

Across Washington, leaders have responded with similar condemnation.

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, called North Korea's action "unacceptable."

"The North Korean regime is more dangerous than most people realize," he said. "This provocative attack is reprehensible."

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) linked the action to the revelation that North Korea has recently constructed a new uranium enrichment facility.

"These latest brazen provocations demand a firm response from the United States, our allies and the broader international community," Lieberman said. "All responsible countries must take additional steps to increase the pressure on the regime in Pyongyang."

From across the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said South Korea "should not have any question that the people and forces of the United States stand ready as a devoted ally committed to the defense of their nation."

mmemoli@tribune.com

twitter.com/mikememoli

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